Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

243 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 243
Hads: 491
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 17.4%
Wants: 10
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

Two words describe winter in our neck of the woods... cold, dark, and snowy. Just the way we like it! At 7.2% ABV, Powder Hound Winter Ale gives just the right amount of warmth, balanced by its rich taste and generous dose of Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops. After a cold day of getting it done or just relaxing, the avalanche of flavor will have you saying these four words - "I'll have another Powder Hound"!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 243 | Hads: 491
Photo of Reidrover
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Comes in a 12 oz brown long neck with a picture of what looks like a sled dog on the label.
Very nice looking dark brown coloured beer, with a 1 inch creamy off white head..dissapates but leaves excellent lacing down the glass.
Very strong aroma of roasted malts and an almost wine like alcohol scent..detect some spiciness.
Nice strong chocolate malt taste, then mid tongue it gets spicy almost peppery shows some slight hops at the end..and a good alcohol warming in the throat.
Very nice on the tongue not dry at all.great long lasting aftertaste.
I was surprised how much I liked this ale even in the early summer..pretty drinkable in my books.

 653 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass, poured a solid orange amber with good head, a solid thicket of head for the whole time, ok lacing. The aroma is full of roasty malts, some not so active hops, citric like, maybe some chocolate. The taste is also pretty decent, kinda roasty malts, kinda caramel sweet, some chocolate, a little hop citrus and bittering. The mouth has decent body, carbonation, really a good beer but nothing too special. Just glad it wasn't called a winter warmer, cause it didn't. That said, a decent beer.

 508 characters

Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a two finger head that displays good stickage and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Sweet malt and caramel aromas as well as a hint of piney hop

Taste: While there is a biscuity malt flavor, up front, that merges with caramel, the piney hop notes quickly arrive to balance out the sweeter flavors; after the swallow, the flavors are nicely balanced with some winter warmer elements but, overall, this is a very hoppy beer for the style; a tingle of mint on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A beer that combines a range of styles, this is a nicely balanced beer with enough flavor to keep one's attention

Thanks, sholle, for the opportunity

 722 characters

Photo of BigRedN
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The beer is a dark amber with an off white head about 1 inch in height. head fades to a solid cover on the liquid and leaves some good lacing.

Smell: Some lightly roasted malt, a little caramel, a light chocolate scent and something else (a little roasted barley?). Hints of hops from just a touch of a floral aroma, but mostly malty.

Taste: A well balanced beer. Some decent maltiness followed by a bitterness that is welcome but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, adequately carbonated (not too bubbly and not flat either) with a somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: Got two bottles as part of a mixed pack. Very enjoyable, although at just over 6% I don't know if I would be able to session with this. Still it is a good beer to sit back and enjoy one (or two) on a cold winter night.

 836 characters

Photo of NatetheGreat
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful looking, deep ruby-brown with light tan head. Spicy aroma, with a nuttiness and notes of clove. Taste didn't live up to the nose, but did have a nice hoppy finish (guessing noble hops). Thick, rich mouthfeel and a good brew overall. Certainly on spot for the style.

 275 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first year I tried this one. Beautiful mohagony color. Great malt taste. Very good. This beer tastes as if it was aged in oak. Nice warming winter brew.

 169 characters

Photo of Foyle
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a 1" off white head that slowly recedes with some lacing. Amber color with plenty of streaming carbonation.
Aroma: rich aroma of yeast rolls, pungent earthy hops, some caramel and raisins.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied and a bit sticky with a pleasant finish.
Flavor: complex combination of bread dough, sweet caramel and toffee, fruity raisin, significant bitter earthy hops and with a slight astringent alcohol burn in the finish.
Overall: a pleasant sipper on a cold winter day and appropriate to the style.

 527 characters

Photo of TheSarge
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours decent for a finger thick white head, and has a cleanly filtered copper colored body.

The aroma is piny and orangish along with a hint of toffee.

Taste wise it's well balanced between caramel from the hops and lemony/piny flavors of the hops.

Feels medium to full in body. Good carbonation as well as wetting to the palate. For a higher ABV brew, there is little to no alcohol burn, which is always a plus in my book.

 426 characters

Photo of isualum12
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking beer. I have had it over the years from a bottle but never like tonight from a tap. I was excited to see it. Nice red copper tone to this beer. It smell is not overly strong. Taste is great. Lots of flavor without kicking you to hard. Feel is close to perfect.

Great beer that is worth having a few time throughout the year.

 340 characters

Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Lovely copper-colored body sports a large, dense off-white cloud top head, which retains superbly. Thin lacing coats the glass walls. The carbonation is slight, a few bubbles drift lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Lots of crisp pine tar hops vie with toasted and caramel malts. The hops win out easily.

Taste: Opens with lots of toasted malt, like toasted rustic dark bread. A moment behind the malt are rather prominent grapefruit hops, these soon dominate the taste. Beneath the hops, there appears a bitter cocoa note, which offers some balance. Finishes with a long, lingering slightly oily grapefruit rind flavor. The alcohol is handled quite gracefully, at 7.2% ABV, it was quite subtle.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: : Well-done. For my own taste, I would like to have seen more emphasis on the malt, rather than the hops. Nonetheless, this is a quite well-crafted example.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

 1,045 characters

Photo of JeffreyG
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is another great brew from Big Sky. The Powder Hound had a really inviting look with a dark, almost garnet like, color and a two finger head that had nice retention and lace. The taste is nicely balanced with a slight empahsis on the malt giving it a toasty flavor. Mouthfeel is full but not overpowering. A very drinkable brew.

 333 characters

Photo of Chaz
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured cool (not from-the-fridge cold). Medium-firm pour into a Westmalle chalice produces a full one-fingered, pale tan head of medium duration and moderate lacing. Nose is fairly rich with esters of dark fruit, caramel, cocoa, and rather minimal hop. Smells creamy. Brilliant amber in color, fairly dark, and with a touch of crimson. Fruity and mildly-sweet on the first sip, with more dry biscuity malt notes than rich, roasty malt. VERY creamy. Lingering bitterness, with plenty of fresh piney, resiny hop aromatics, and a drying quality as well. Malt is fairly juicy on the second sip, and the alcohol is warming and nearer the front of the palate . . . tingly. Stronger than I recall it as being (and it drinks a bit stronger than 6.2%), but my overall impression is that this brew has changed a good deal since I first tried it five years ago . . . I really like the way they've balanced the juicy, aromatic, and bittering hops with the pale and roasty malt. Mildly roasty, cocoa notes tend to linger along with the both the hop bitterness and resiny quality, all to a rather pleasing affect. Light notes of cherry and caramel, cocoa and vanilla. Mouthfeel is light and creamy tingly as opposed to scrubbing/cleansing, and it is very *readily* drinkable, almost too much so. Carbonation is lower than I recall, with the brew being softer and more refined than I recall, definitely an improvement. Seeing as I haven't tried this in a good while and as it was on sale -$4 / six pack!- this made for a great buy for a cold day in February. Seeing as how their flagship brand (Moose Drool) has really come into its own in recenet years, it's no surprise that this brew would do likewise. Big Sky’s Powder Hound is worth enjoying again and again!

 1,749 characters

Photo of katan
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a dark, deep brown color. Appears clear, well filtered, Light head film retained - overall low head size. Off-white to mocha in color. Doesn't appear very carbonated.

S - Sweet caramel and crystal malts - a bit nutty. Some cinnamon and other winter spices are present.

T - Starts off with a warming malt backbone of 2row and some caramel notes. Very spiced, lots of cinnamon. Mid-stream shows some malt and bready notes. Very malt forward. Finishes with a yeasty bite.

M - Thick and strong beer body - carbonation is present but in balance. Leaves behind a cloying sweetness.

D - Deceivingly drinkable. Sweetness and spiciness is excellent on a winter night. A bit filling at times. Flavors are smooth. ABV will sneak up on you.

A very solid "winter warmer" if this were that style.

 817 characters

Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a cloudy orange caramel color and a nice off white head sticks around for a while.

Smells very hop forward, sweet orange and grassy hop notes mostly.

big, bright hops hit me first, and then it's backed up with a nice caramel malt backbone. It has that classic, spicy quality that I like in winter warmers.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated.

This is a very enjoyable winter warmer, I could drink these fairly often if they didn't sell out so quickly. I think I'll make it a habit of drinking Powder Hound every winter.

 530 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red colored ale with a good tan colored head.

Smell is sweet and malty with an aroma of figs and raisins with some vanilla and smoke. Good toasted bread aroma. Fair amount of spiciness in the scent to the point I suspect they added spice to create a sort of winter warmer. Scent is somewhat like a bock beer.

Taste is slightly sweet bitter and smoky in the first taste with a residual wood and vanilla finish. Strongly malty but it is very aggressively hopped to compensate and does a very good impersonation of a good Scottish ale. Smoky malt and strong herbal hops make this a very pleasing beer! The oak, vanilla and caramel continue as after tastes through out the glass full.

Mouthfeel is only average here; this has that one slight fault.

A very drinkable Scottish ale here. According to the website they call this "a Northern Rockies Strong Ale" but taste wise this is a malty and smoky Scottish ale in my book. A surprisingly drinkable beer that I really didn't expect to be as good as it was.

 1,027 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a bubbly, copper color with a small, tan, foamy head. It left small, thin traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, floral notes and it had an earthy quality.

T - It tasted of biscuity, sweet caramel malt. It had a nice spicy hop kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a nicely balanced amber ale with good doses of sweet malt and spicy hops.

 414 characters

Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big Sky's version of a winter ale enters the glass, revealing an amber colored liquid with a dishwater head. The color is lighter than I expect for a winter ale--portentous it seems. The aroma is a nice mixture of caramel malt, biscuit, and citrus and pine from the hops. As I take the first imbibition hops race across the palate making this beer feel more akin to a pale ale than a winter ale. The pine and citrus from the hops is not able to overpower the caramel and nuttiness from the malt. The interplay between the hops and malt is just right. This well balanced brew is a winter delight. Drinkable indeed.

 613 characters

Photo of Thrasher
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sweet malty beer good for keeping out the winter chill. Darkish red-amber with small dwindling head and some lace. Malts are very nice, warming, leathery and a touch smoky. Lots of biscuit sweetness and a sweet currant fruitiness that slowly becomes apparant. Lots of Irish red ale malt character too. Hops are not very substantial but they do the job with a definite herbal character. A long, lingering sweetness entices you to take another sip. I was surprised how good this beer was. It at first seemed like an average malty winter brew but as it asserted itself I was more and more impressed with its complexity. This beer would go well with foods, maybe smoky meats, but I also wonder how it would do alongside a sweet caramelized dessert. It tastes a little like the burnt top of a creme brulee.

 803 characters

Photo of battlekow
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Powder Hound, described on bigskybrew.com as a "Northern Rockies Strong Ale," is a clear reddish-brown color with a small, off-white head that quickly dissipates. Smell has a nutty, slightly buttery character and a caramel sweetness with a tinge of apple; it's a great scent but a little different, and I'm struggling to describe it. Almost smells like ice cream. Tastes pretty good, but not as interesting as the smell. There's a slightly hoppy finish, but Powder Hound tastes for the most part like a generic, malty amber ale. Does have a nicely creamy mouthfeel. Pretty easy drinking for Northern Rockies Strong Ale, I must say.

 631 characters

Photo of supercolter
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good appearance, some nice head and lacing.
Smell is good as well, some drier malt and darker fruit, maybe a touch of hops is all.
Taste is really similar to the smell
Mouthfeel is medium in body with a bit of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good. I would recommend it.

 275 characters

Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a pleasant surprise. It got buried in the back of my fridge somehow over the winter. Unburied it last night. It seemed almost like an IPA with the floral hops and hints of orange, lemon and tangerine. There's a caramel-sweet edge to it. It goes down really easily. Ironically, fit my hot summer night really well. Maybe next time I'll get to try it on a cold winter night. Well-made brew!

 402 characters

Photo of beernut7
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark auburn with a thin head. The heavy aroma of toffee and sweet malt reminds me of some of my favortie British ales. A distinct bitterness is the first thing to hit the palate followed quickly by heavy deep chocolate and toffee flavor. Fairly smooth body supports the well-rounded taste. Very much like Sam Smith's Winter brew with a bit more solid bitter. Very taste and worth the shipping.

 406 characters

Photo of pkalix
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i'm realizing that "winter ale" can mean almost anything to different people.
this one pours a clean, clear, reddish amber with micro buubles rising straight to the top.
this one also smells like a forest of hops.
tastes pine-y, grapefruit-y; almost a forset of hops. it's clean and refreshing, none the less....
overall, for a 7.2% i can hang with this one. it does appear the hops in american beer is to hide the abv and make it easier to drink but this one hasa decent balance of pine-y to abv that i can handle.

 516 characters

Photo of colts9016
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my notes in December 2008. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger light tan/ivory head that has some retention. The color of the beer is a copper with garnet hues. The clarity of the beer is clear with a touch of haziness.

Nose: A nice rich roasted malt with a nice hop aroma. The hops are floral bouquet, pine, and grapefruit. There are also characters of spices.

Taste: A rich roasted malt that is nutty, toffee, caramel, molasses, wood, grapefruit, floral esters. There are notes of spices too.

The mouth feel is warm, creamy, and rich.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. A good winter warmer.

 659 characters

Photo of xoqx
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - This beer pours copper with a yellow, one finger head exhibiting light retention and wispy lacing.

Smell – There are honey, fruity, malty, and caramelly smells here.

Taste - This beer tastes very malty with bready, honey characteristics. It is nicely balanced with restrained hops. The finish is nothing but average.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean, creamy, and nicely-carbonated.

Drinkability – This is a drinkable beer, if not an overly interesting one.

 486 characters

Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.